A lifetime of serving the community
Born just west of Medford, Mayor Lois Nelson has served the community she calls home for many years. Her public service began in the late ‘80s serving 9 years on the Medford School Board prior running for the Medford City Council in 1995.
“I had residents thinking that I should be on the council or even run as mayor,” Nelson said. “I ran for the council unopposed and after that ran for Mayor. I defeated the 22-year incumbent with 60% of the vote.”
After serving one term as mayor, Nelson was defeated twice before winning two more terms in 2012 and 2016. She was defeated this November by former mayor Danny Thomas.
Nelson said she is proud of the time she’s spent serving the community, regardless of the outcome of this year’s election.
“The one thing I have done is make myself available to make civic presentations outside the community representing Medford,” said Nelson. She also served on multiple boards throughout the region. “I believe the community has had a lot of positive impact from that, we want to be recognized as a nice small-town neighbor.”
She said one of her proudest achievements was to give the city some financial security. “Thanks to the city administrator and accounting adviser we were able to bring financial stability,” she said. “We also updated our comprehensive plan in 2015, the whole concept of goal-oriented and strategic planning has been a part of these recent years.”
“The mayor is sometimes like a cheerleader for the town,” she said of her role within the community and throughout the region. “You need a strong team to pull everything off and I’ve had the good fortune to work with some great people.”
Due to her constant commitment to the community, Nelson said she knows that the City of Medford will always be special to her. “It’s been 20-to-30 hours a week, and I think to give that type of energy and commitment means that Medford holds a pretty big place in my heart,” she said.
“I appreciate the gung-ho attitude of our residents and felt a lot of joy in the spiritedness within the community,” Nelson said of the often-opinionated constituents who she served. “I want to thank everyone for the memories and the opportunity, and we’ll see what these next months and years bring.”
After the New Year begins and her third term as mayor ends, Nelson said plans to take things easy for a bit while also seeing to some additional commitments throughout the county, such as serving on the boards of Riverland Community College and Koda Assistant Living.
“I plan to travel and have more time to spend with family,” Nelson said.